30 Jun 2010:
Biofuel Production from Algae
Years from Commercialization, U.S. Says
Biofuels produced from algae hold “significant promise” as an alternative to polluting petroleum-based fuels, but the technology will require years of development before it is ready to be deployed at a large-scale, commercial level
, according to a U.S. Department of Energy report. The “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap,” released after a year of public comment, identifies the state of the technology and the challenges facing researchers, engineers, and policymakers in the advancement of algal biofuels.
The microalgae Botryococcus
“Many years of both basic and applied science and engineering will likely be needed to achieve affordable, scalable, and sustainable algal-based fuels,” the report
says. Scientists involved in writing the report said that the technology behind algal biofuels is far less developed than the technologies used to produce corn ethanol or biodiesel. Al Darzins, a group manager with the National Bioenergy Center at the National Energy Laboratory, said it is important to do far more research on various strains of algae, including genetically modified strains, to develop qualities useful in fuel production. In addition, he said, researchers must develop efficient growth systems, such as ponds or closed containers, where algae can be farmed on a large scale.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.